An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A sign and arrow directing drivers to the temporary COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre at Centennial Motors on the Alaska Highway in Whitehorse on Nov. 23, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)A sign and arrow directing drivers to the temporary COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre at Centennial Motors on the Alaska Highway in Whitehorse on Nov. 23, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A security guard wanders outside the Centennial Motors carwash where a line of people in vehicles waited to receive a COVID-19 test in Whitehorse on Nov. 24, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)A security guard wanders outside the Centennial Motors carwash where a line of people in vehicles waited to receive a COVID-19 test in Whitehorse on Nov. 24, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A sign at Centennial Motors informs people that the COVID-19 testing is in the carwash in Whitehorse on Nov. 24, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)A sign at Centennial Motors informs people that the COVID-19 testing is in the carwash in Whitehorse on Nov. 24, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Paramedics Tanya Harper, from left, and Willow Brewster, prepare for their next vehicle and to start a new COVID-19 test, while Kathy Donnelly, right, folds and stacks sanitized medical gowns at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre on Nov. 24, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)Paramedics Tanya Harper, from left, and Willow Brewster, prepare for their next vehicle and to start a new COVID-19 test, while Kathy Donnelly, right, folds and stacks sanitized medical gowns at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre on Nov. 24, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A sign on a pylon directs drivers on what to do with their vehicles while in the temporary COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre in Whitehorse on Nov. 24, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)A sign on a pylon directs drivers on what to do with their vehicles while in the temporary COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre in Whitehorse on Nov. 24, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Paramedic Tanya Harper directs the driver of a vehicle where to stop to be tested on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)Paramedic Tanya Harper directs the driver of a vehicle where to stop to be tested on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Drivers line up outside Centennial Motors carwash after it is converted into a COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre in Whitehorse on Nov. 24, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)Drivers line up outside Centennial Motors carwash after it is converted into a COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre in Whitehorse on Nov. 24, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Paramedic Kathy Donnelly, left, folds sanitized medical gowns on one side of the carwash bay, while the intake person gets information from drivers on the other side. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)Paramedic Kathy Donnelly, left, folds sanitized medical gowns on one side of the carwash bay, while the intake person gets information from drivers on the other side. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, stands on a stool to perform the COVID-19 test on the driver of a tall truck on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, stands on a stool to perform the COVID-19 test on the driver of a tall truck on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Willow Brewster, right, transfers a completed COVID-19 test to Tanya Harper holding a baggy at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre at Centennial Motors car wash in Whitehorse on Nov. 24, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)Willow Brewster, right, transfers a completed COVID-19 test to Tanya Harper holding a baggy at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre at Centennial Motors car wash in Whitehorse on Nov. 24, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Tanya Harper, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, seals up conducted a COVID-19 test on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)Tanya Harper, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, seals up conducted a COVID-19 test on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Tanya Harper takes a moment between vehicles to peek through the small window in the garage door of the carwash bay to the outside world in Whitehorse on Nov. 24, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)Tanya Harper takes a moment between vehicles to peek through the small window in the garage door of the carwash bay to the outside world in Whitehorse on Nov. 24, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did the demand for COVID-19 testing. In an effort to accommodate the anticipated increase in demand for testing at the COVID-19 Testing and Assessment Centre (CTAC) and reduce the wait time for testing, the Yukon government opened a drive-thru testing centre at Centennial Motors car wash on the Alaska Highway.

The drive-thru, since opening on Monday, has been conducting approximately 90 tests per day, whereas CTAC can perform approximately 65 tests per day, said Pat Living, the communications director of the Department of Health and Social Services, in an email.

Drivers, after waiting in the lineup outside the car wash, pull in to the first half of the drive-thru car wash bay and are greeted by an intake person who fills out forms for them, including symptom information. Once all the vital information is gathered, the patients are then directed to pull to the front of the car wash bay, where two health care professionals are waiting to perform the COVID-19 test.

On Nov. 24 it was a staff of paramedics.

“EMS has been fabulous in working with us on this and it is working really well,” said Living.

It took roughly two and a half days to set up the drive-thru for testing, Living said. Centennial Motors car wash was chosen as the location for the centre as they were the first to respond to a government call out late on Nov. 20, she added.

The COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre was originally scheduled to operate until Nov. 28, but was extended for an additional two weeks on Nov. 26 to accommodate demand.

Contact Crystal Schick at crystal.schick@yukon-news.com

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